Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Tale of Governor Vibullius (Campaign 78)

P. Marcus Vibullius, the Governor of Syria had rejected Alanicus's offer to join him in his bid for Emperor, he had taken his bribes, then betrayed him. Still loyal to Secundus in the west, Vibullius had tried to organize resistance in the East to oppose Alanicus and his armies. What's more, he had defeated a small force sent under Rufus Valerius to seize Syria, adding to a line of Defeats for the budding Eastern Emperor. This was unforgivable in the eyes of Alanicus and he gave very precise instructions on what to do with Governor Vibullius when he was captured, very precise instructions indeed!

For weeks Alanicus's soldiers searched for the troublesome Governor but with no luck. The III Gallica had fought like lions to protect the Province from the Alanician forces but had surrendered when caught in the open and out numbered. The Legion was forced to swear an alligence to Alanicus and the officers; dealt with. However, a large number of Gallicians were still at large in the area and they saw it as there mission to get the aging Vibullius back to the West and safety. So for weeks Vibullius hid by day and travelled by night, guarded by the very best the III Legion had to offer.

However, with more and more Provinces falling to Alanicus, Vibullius found himself with less and less places to hide. He was finally captured disguised as a woman, hiding in a fishing boat in the port of Caesarea. So very close to escape, he was himself betrayed, yes you've guessed it, for Alanicus gold.
Alanicus had ordained that his tongue should first be cut out as a warning to all traitors, then he was to be tortured and finally crucified, so all may look on the fate of those who resist the will of Alanicus the benevolent.

Alanicus had wished to meet with Vibullius before he was crucified, but had found himself rushing to Egypt to secure the Capital. He thus gave the order for the hapless Governor to be torn down and beheaded and to have his head sent to Secundus in Noricum. It was done and part of P. Marcus Vibullius finally returned back home at last, to the West. Alanicus had shown the Empire that he was as generous at handing out torture and death; as he was gold coin.

"Welcome back Vibullius, old friend" Secundus.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Campaign Map

So here it is at last, the latest version of the great Campaign Map.
As you can see, after watching and building up his forces, Alanicus has swept all before him in the East using a different tactic to that of Tullus and Secundus....huge bribes, to buy rather than fight provinces.
After losing the battle at Valentia, Secundus has pulled back and taken Noricum to make up for the loss of Aples Gallia. He now faces having his kingdom cut in two by a victorious Tullus. Although Tullus could find himself caught between two huge field armies if he advances.
Tullus has secured most of North Africa but finds he has missed the prize of Egypt which Alanicus had in his sights from the very start and bypassed Arabia to snatch it. However, Alanicus after paying a massive bribe has only landed with a tiny force to take Egypt and could find he has bitten off more than he can chew, if Tullus marches on him from the West.

Tullus learns of Egypt (campaign 77)

Tired and weary of the war, Tullus grabs a few well earned moments away from the nagging Senators and their crys for action. It is while he is relaxing that he is handed news of Alanicus's daring strike on Egypt and the city of Alexandria.
Still on campaign in Gaul, Tullus quickly sends messages to L.Cornelius Gracchus, the General of the North African army, to start raising new Auxiliary Cohorts amongst the tribes. Most notably, the skilled light horse men of the region.
Gracchus has taken his time raising and training his new army and has paid for it by the loss of one of the most richest Provinces in the Empire. Lets hope the time taken in training has been worth it, only time will tell.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Alanicus takes Egypt by sea (Campaign 76)

After his run of bad luck, the Gods finally show mercy on Alanicus. In August, a large gold mine is discovered in Thrace, It was also in this month that Alanicus makes his most daring strike so far .
After mustering a small fleet of the coast of Greece, Alanicus sets sail for Egypt. His tiny fleet reaches Egypt safely and Alanicus steps a shore to claim the Province as his own. However, the city did not come cheap, Alanicus had to put together the largest bribe so far to claim the Province as his own , this did not sit well with him and he bent his mind to how to get it back. He now controlled the bread basket of Rome and he managed a thin smile as he mulled over the possibilities.
Egypt was the richest Province in the East with it's great port and famous City not to mention it's fertile plains, Alanicus knew he had snatched it from Tullus and his African army and readied himself for the inevitable.
The jewel in Africa's crown had been stolen and Tullus would not be happy about it!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Africa prepares for war

These Garamante African troops really bring a distinctive look all of their own to the Army of North Africa. Their random tribal formations will contrast nicely against the regimented ranks of the drilled Legionaries on the battle field.
I was lucky with these troops for I found the exact reference for them in Osprey's 'Rome's Enemies, The Desert Frontier'. Which was priceless for painting up the animal hide shields.

Below can be seen the Army of North Africa. In the first rank are the Evocati (tough veterans) followed by the Lybian spear men from Leptis Magna. Behind them are two Cohorts from the III Augusta, the African Legion. To the side can be seen a unit of Numidian Light horse with the Garamantes next to them.

Being a Desert army, there will be a lot of Light horse units and skirmishers, so to come will be another 12 African light horse, 12 more Garamante skirmishers and a tribe of 24 Numidian foot skirmishers. Tribesmen are quite cheap in points compared to Legionaries and this Army will appear very large in comparison when finished. How ever, it is quality not quantity that wins wars....I hope. I also have a nice Numidian king figure, that should look good on this Army's command base with the General.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Lybian Spearmen

This African Tribune proudly looks upon his new command, the III Leptis Auxiliary cohort, from the city of Leptis Magna in Lybia. Raised from the City guard, they have been given the 12ft thrusting spear of their Carthaginian ancestors.
Lets hope all the training by Tullus's Centurions pays off on the battle field, with Alanicus marching down towards Egypt and an army of Tullus's stationed near Carthage, I guess it won't be long before we find out.

These spear men lend their weight to the forces of Tullus in North Africa.

Kircaticus of the Dumnoii

Here is the mighty Celtic chieftain, Kircaticus of the Dumnoii. With his war band finally amassed, Kircaticus whips them up into a frenzy and leads them off on yet another cattle raid. In battle, their striking black and red shields, mark them out against the other tribes and their bear and wolf pelts create an air of intimidation and awe amongst their enemies. With their crazed eyes beaming out of blue woad bands across their eyes, there are few who can face them with out fear.

Kircaticus shows his bravery by leading his men into battle, naked, with just the magical properties of the woad for protection.
Painting note; These Dumnoii were fun to do and I had a great time sculpting their fur cloaks and giving them a more Barbarian look. They almost became more German looking than Celt, but I liked that for I think there would of been a lot of tribes were the difference between the nationalities would have been only slight. I also enjoyed coming up with the countless animal motifs and designs for the shields to show their great skill in hunting, which they are so proud of. All in all, a nice unique unit with its own character and personalities, can't wait to see what they do to those stuck up Romans! The Celtic huts are from and fit the bill perfectly for this rowdy bunch.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Alanicus takes Syria! ( Campaign 75)

After replacing the troops lost to the Parthian raid with levies from Cappodocia, Alanicus sends his new commander, Rufus Valerius, into Syria at the head of a army. The small force of Cappodocians are again caught on the march by a strong force of cavalry, only this time; they are fellow Romans. The column is cut down to a man, including the survivors of the Parthian slaughter, Alanicus has lost another force in the dry open sands of the desert.
Victory only comes when troops from Mesoptamia step in and catch many of the Syrian garrison trying to make for the coast. With more re-enforcements hurried down from Cappodocia the trap is finally closed and the Province taken. Although he has gained another victory in the East, back in Macedonia, Alanicus is any thing but happy. Alanicus has learnt one thing over the last month, out here in the open desert, It is cavalry and their maneuverability and speed who carry the day, not the infantry. A lesson I'm sure he'll use in the future.

The III Gallica in Syria (Campaign 74)

This tough looking Veteran is a Gaul from the III Gallica Legion. Coming from one of the senior Cohorts, he is amongst the last of his people who gave the Legion its name. Being based in Syria, the ranks have become more Syrian over the years but with the constant up risings in the area, the Legion is still one of best battle trained and feared in the Empire.
It is with these hardened troops that Governor Vibullius hopes to stop Alanicus's march of Eastern conquest. Informed that the Governor of Syria may have connections with Secundus, Alanicus decides to double his bribe to 2000 Denarii. Which goes down very well with Vibullius who takes the bribe but then closes the gates and rejects him anyway. When Alanicus hears what has happened he is shocked and then flies into a rage. He will take Syria by force and stub out all pockets of Secundian support in the area once and for all. The tough veterans of the III Gallica prepare to repulse the forces of Alanicus, however, with the recent loses to the Parthians suffered by Alanicus, the III Gallica find themselves in a very strong position indeed! They won't be so easy to 'stub out' as Alanicus thinks.

Friday, October 19, 2007

General Dewolfus of the Rhine

General Dewolfus of the Northern armies patrols his forces in Lugdunensis (Northern France). He has just received word to join Secundus in Noricum, but has tried to press the point that if he leaves, Aquitania will fall to Tullus. Dewolfus has sent dispatches back to Secundus asking for permission to take Aquitania and deny Tullus another Province in Gaul. Secundus on the other hand is too busy ranting at others to listen to good advice. Tribune Antonius (Tony) shows off his new accommodation in Gaul, although he has received a warm wolf pelt from the region, he still misses his newly built Villa. Jupiter knows what state it'll be in by the time this war is finally over and he gets to return to it....if he returns at all that is.
modelling note:
The figure used for Dewolfus is from the New Essex Roman range, as are the other mounted Tribunes. I wanted the General to appear very big and Northern looking and so built up his shoulders with 'Greenstuff'. Adding bear and wolf pelts helped to give him a Frontier look and a big black beard always adds to the Barbarian look! I also decorated the Horses with wolf pelts; these guys have spent too long on the Rhine for their own good and have gone a little native.

Alanicus suffers defeat! (Campaign 73)

A Centurion with yet another bag of Silver in yet another Province, only this time it was the Kingdom of Mesopotamia. Alanicus's wealth was helping to make him one of the most powerful man in the Roman world, with Province after Province greedily flocking to his colours. Mesopotamia was no exception and took the bribe to fall into place behind Alanicus's unstoppable war machine. With the East now very much in his control, Alanicus started to recruit from the Army of Anatolia and it wasn't long before a Vexillation of troops were mustered and ready to march south.
However, Secundus's dispatch to Vibullius, Governor of Syria, had kicked up a Hornet's nest in the surrounding Kingdoms. Vibullius had sent envoys to the King of Parthia, Orodes, stirring the old King into action against Alanicus and his ever spreading armies.
In February, as the Anatolian Force left it's winter camp and marched south across Mesopotamia it was hit by a large mounted force of Parthians, lead by the Parthian Prince, Pacorus. The Anotolians, thinking the area safe were taken completely by surprise and were almost annihilated on the march. Only the rear Cohorts and elements of the mounted column managed to escape the ambush and send word back of the disaster. This was the first bad luck Alanicus had suffered since his bid for power had begun and it hit him hard. Half of his newly raised Vexillation had been wiped out by the lightning attacks of the Parthians. This was only the start of his troubles in the East, for once the Gods had sided with Secundus.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Secundus plays dirty (Campaign 72)

On receiving the news of Alanicus's rise to power in the East, Secundus sends a secret dispatch to his old friend Governor Vibullius. 'Resist this Alanicus at all costs and raise support in the surrounding Provinces' Secundus was never one for writing but his message was clear, this Alanicus, who ever he was, would have to be stopped.
Above, a messenger slips through the darkened streets and onto a ship bound for Syria.

Under pressure (Campaign 71)

The delegation from Carthage finally arrives in Alpes Gallica, dirty, unshaven and tired. This is the closest any of them have come to the front line and they a don't intend to stay a moment longer than is necessary. Again and again they try to prompt Tullus into following up his success at Valentia and call out for a quick victory.
They try to threaten Tullus with being replaced by someone more willing to fight, but both parties know this is an empty threat and Tullus remains unmoved by Lucius's taunts. The Senate have little care for the state of Tullus's depleted and tired army and all talk is of restoring Rome and glorious new era. Tullus has the delegation removed twice throughout the day, but Lucius Plaudicus keeps coming back with renewed vigour. Finally, just as Tullus is about to order them out at sword point (again) he receives news of another problem. As the Senate babel on, working themselves into a frenzy, Tullus reads the dispatch aloud to the room. Now they have two usurpers to worry about.
The delegation is speechless for a moment, then fall upon Tullus pleading with him to save them and Rome from these mad men in purple, who appear from nowhere. Tullus now has a lot to think about and has the jabbering Senators escorted from his tent. For the moment they are out of sight, but not out of mind, for he can still hear them crying out to him to save them. "why me..." sighs Tullus. With now two opponents, Tullus rejects all pleas for a quick victory. This will be no quick war.

Secundus licks his wounds (campaign 70)

Meanwhile in Noricum, Secundus secures his newly won province and hides away from public view. Too busy nursing his pride and blaming others, he shuts himself off from everyone, even his advisers. He only recovers when forced to react to news that two of his top generals have fallen out and soldiers are brawling on their behalf. Secundus, quite recovered, snaps back to his old self and quickly stamps out the rabble-rousers.
It was just after dealing with this minor problem, that Secundus first caught wind of a major one. He received a letter from his old friend, Governor Vibullius of Syria, telling Secundus of what exactly has been going on in the East over the last few months. The letter goes on to explain how using great cunning and alot of silver, Alanicus has started to carve out a chunk of Secundus's empire for himself and that his men are calling him Emperor.
Secundus is not happy and the army soon wishes it had behaved in his absence.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Restless Senate (Campaign 69)

Upon hearing of Tullus's success at the battle of Valentia, members of the Senate (now in Carthage) appeal to Tullus to finish the job he has started and put down the tyrant Secundus. Used to expensive living, the wealthy nobles of Rome have no taste for the campaign life nor the hot, dry, arid lands of Africa and so put together a weighty delegation to join Tullus in Gaul.
Itching to get back to Rome and check on their properties and investments, these Senators have their own interests very much at heart, something that Tullus is aware of and all previous appeals from them for a quick victory, have been ignored.
However, now that their top spokesman Lucius Plaudicus has been elected to lead the delegation, Tullus will be forced to listen.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Cappadocia sides with Alanicus (Campaign 68)

The Governor of Cappadocia weighs up his options in the raging civil war and decides to back the latest contender. In doing so, he added yet another Province to the Alanicus war machine. In a matter of four months, Alanicus ( with the help of his Denarii) had persuaded five large and powerful Provinces to come over to him. He was now stretching his hand out further East into the territory of Syria and Mesopotamia. There, many Legions had been stationed to meet the Parthian threat, If they could be bought as easily as their Provincial Governors, Alanicus would be a power to be reckoned with indeed. It was well that Governor Poplicola accepted his bribe, If he had not, Centurion Catulus had other, less pleasant orders. Luckily for Poplicola, the only heads rolling were on the coins that slipped through his greedy, fat fingers.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Alanicus the benevolent (Campaign 67)

With the armies of the West still dazed by their resent set too, Alanicus sees his chance for a quick land grab of own. It is now that he openly declares himself as Emperor and sets his own War machine in motion.
The first Province to go over to Alanicus is Macedonia, Alanicus has been working on the officials of the Province in his lead up to conquest and with a tidy sum of Denarii each, they gladly flock to his banner. Alanicus now uses the immense wealth of the Eastern provinces to build an amphitheatre in Thrace, a very generous thing to do people say, so early on in the Campaign, but Alanicus nods graciously and says "This is just the tip of what I can offer you If I assend to the throne". With this statement the Provinces of Asia and Pontus, long disillusioned with Rome come over to his side. There has been much unhappiness and unrest in the East since the start of the war and it is this discord that Alanicus now capitalises on. Alanicus is using his vast collected wealth to draw the greedy Provinces to him like moths to a flame.
A great, vast marble quarry is established in Macedonia and in that same month, Galatia bows to his will, with the help of a few Denarii of course. With his immense generosity, Alanicus is gathering much support in the East and is soon known as Alanicus the Benevolent, everything is going much to his plan, by the time Secundus and the other one find out what's going on, Alanicus will have armies of his own.
The new Emperor has risen in the East and will soon set in the West....on the throne of Rome no less, If his treasury holds out that is.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Alanicus shows his hand (Campaign 66)

After a year of waiting and watching from a distance, Aulus Proctavius Alanicus steps from the shadows of the East to make his bid for power. Left to his own devices, as the leading men of the West fight it out, Alanicus has been busy preparing an army of his own. Since the Civil war began, Alanicus had designs on the throne for himself, at first he had planned to let the contenders cut themselves to pieces and then mop up who ever was left, but as the year dragged on with no real winner in sight, Alanicus's patience finally ran out. He decided to take what was rightfully his, the title of Emperor.
With his amassed army groaning and slipping away by the day, Alanicus knew he couldn't stay hidden for much longer and decided to act, much to the delight of his bored Legions who had spent the last eight months in secret staging grounds in Thrace.
Both Tullus and Secundus had herd reports earlier in the year of Alanicus in the East, but had laughed it off with contempt. Now with the army of Thrace and the renown III Gallica behind him, their laughter would soon die away. There were now three in the race for the throne and every one knew, there could be only one first citizen of Rome.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Tullus hardens the army of North Africa (Campaign 65)

After the resent victory at the battle of Valentia, would be emperor Tullus was shocked in the way that the vexilations from North Africa were swept from the field, almost spelling defeat for his quest for the throne. Needing replacements badly he dispatched Centurion Metellus of the 1st Cohort, VI Gemina, to Africa, to bring back the much needed re-enforcements. However, Tullus gave Metellus strict orders to beat them into shape first........quite literally. Centurion Metellus was not impressed at what he found on arriving in Numidia and the state at which standards had dropped. With most of the III Augusta still in reasonable shape, Metellus turned his trained eye on the Auxiliaries of the Province. It was them who would help swell the ranks of Tullus's war machine.
Within weeks a rag tag bunch of City guards had been retrained and drilled into a disciplined Cohort of spearman, to send against the Germans of Secundus. These dark skinned Lybians were armed with the weapon of their home land, a 12ft thrusting spear, a rare sight on the battle field and one that Metellus thought might inspire a little shock and awe in the armies of the North.
Gaming Note; Organising the army of North Africa is one thing I've been meaning to do for a long time, with all its varied troop types it could have great character. First up on the painting table are these Lybian spear men from Renegade Miniatures. They are from the Punic war collection, but with a little bit of imagination and tweaking, they will become ex-city guards beaten into shape and turned into a cohort of the line. I thought I would give them Carthage style spears to add to their look and to make them very different from anything else in the Roman ranks. I'm also toying with the idea of putting the my newly completed Evocati Cohort into the army of North Africa, as many veterans were settled there.

Putting a name to the face

On buying the Osprey book ' The Roman Army of the Punic Wars 264-146 BC' I discovered a huge list of Roman commanding Generals in the back. The list was so long with so many fantastic names it gave me an idea. I would use this list to name all of my Centurions and other officers in my Roman forces.The idea didn't stop there, to give more character to each of them, I devised a 1 to 10 table to roll on for their stats e.g +1 to str or +1 to attacks. The Centurions I wanted to be mostly a plus of one sort or another for they had been promoted on example and merit. Whereas the table I drew up for the Higher Officers, the Legates and Tribunes is less positive and has a 50/50 chance of being something bad, a minus. For example an unlucky roll on the High Officer Table could see out of touch Generals receiving a -1 on their leadership, wounds or attacks. These bad officers have obviously been promoted beyond their means, by friends in high places and do their men little favours once in the field. I'm hoping these personalities will bring a bit more colour and life to the board and make great blogging throughout the Campaign. With the all the Centurions carefully named, I wrote out their names on stickers for the bases and added the name and altered stats to the unit cards of the Officers involved. To keep things simple I gave each Centurion just one single name e.g Varro or Balbus so that after a while these names will be easy to remember and real characters will leap from the board. The men of higher rank I gave the Full Roman title of three names. An example of a high officer would be L.Lunis Pullus, who has now become the General of the Rhine army. Again I'm hoping that these names will sink in after a few battles and might even give a sense of loss when well known characters fall, or lucky ones do well, old Linus Pullus has done it again...I don't believe it! that crafty old fox.

Now my Centurions Vitus and 1st Spear Centurion 'Bulla', made famous through the blog, have now got faces to their names and their stats have been rolled and altered. I gave the 1st spears an option of rolling twice and choosing the better roll, this reflects their experience and status in the ranks. The other Centurions aren't as lucky and have to except what the Gods ordain on them. Old war dog 'Bulla' ended up with a weapon skill of 4 which isn't great for attacks but means he has a better chance of scoring a hit in combat. However, Tullus's 1st spear, the renown Terentius, bagged the war hero slot of 10 and walked away with an attack of 3 rolls and a strength of 4. He will be one to avoid at all costs and may even turn the tide of a few battles. Terentius will be a name that people will learn to remember and I'm sure one that goes down in the annuals, "Oh woe to the conquered."

It may turn out that in the heat of battle who has what and toughness and strength they are and so forth may get in the way of the game, but with the unit cards on hand I'm hoping it won't. We will just have to see about that one, but it is great to know that all the characters have names and personalities even if we do drop their skills.

Above, 1st spear Centurion Messala (tough old war dog, Toughness 4) from the army of Rome, takes some welcome advice from an old friend.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Villa is finished

Here is a turn around of the finished Villa with its finished doors and windows. I had real fun in researching this project and I'm quite pleased with the results, although I think I've made the tiles a little too rough and ready for a Roman Villa...oh well. I plan to make another similar building quite soon so maybe I'll try something different. In a way, the rough tiles to me make the Villa look very British and weather beaten, so I think the look is actually starting to grow on me. Next up is the base, on which will be a walled garden with fruit trees etc, First I need to find a suitable piece of wood to base it on.
In colder, wetter countries, Villas adopted the covered colonnade to keep out the rain and snow. These were very common in Britannia (no surprise there). However, with Tony being from Rome, he has decided to have the best of both worlds and has also Incorporated an open colonnade at the front, from the Italian styled Villas of home.

All in all, this Villa has been about thirty hours in the making. Fun though I have to say and a very educational too. Unfortunately Tony won't have time to enjoy his new home, after he receives a bear skin cloak made of Milliput, he is off to join the Army of the Rhine's high command, along with some of those drunken officers seen earlier. Don't worry he'll be fine, mind you he will need all that fur lining where he's going.

Bringing the Villa to life

33. Looking pretty Roman to me, all that's left now are the doors and rafters. Almost done.
32. For me the real cherry on the cake was when I got to paint the red surrounding border along the building base, that to me, makes it shout out Roman.31. The walls are painted white....of course.30. With the model completed I took about under coating it in acrylic paints, spraying the roof tiles black at first to give them better shading.